One of the most important parts of being a young twenty something is exploring the world around us. There are so many amazing places to see and incredible things to do and most of the time, we don’t even see the opportunities to travel that are sitting right in front of us. If you’re going to be a junior (or a senior) at Siena in the fall, there is still time to apply to study abroad. I unfortunately was not able to study abroad due to academic obligations by the Honors Program, but I have had so many friends who have gone through this experience and have come back with a hunger for traveling and seeing the world. Junior Interdisciplinary Major (with a focus on Social Justice) Karina Wojnar studied abroad in India last semester and she was blown away by her incredible experiences on the other side of the world.
I absolutely adored how much it challenged me in every way. Being abroad challenged my world views, my personal values, my physical energy, and my mental capacity. I loved that I could NEVER assume anything. I could not assume what I was eating, nor if what I was wearing was appropriate. I loved that. It kept me mindful and on my toes.
My favorite adventure, as cliche as it sounds, would have to be my trips to the Taj Mahal. I went first before my program, with my brother while we were backpacking around North India. Then, I saw it as a tourist, we took tons of pictures. I freaked out. Oh my god, the Taj Mahal! This beautiful, symmetrical marble structure is breath-taking. The second time, I went with my program peers. I think I took maybe one or two pictures. We went during sunrise and I just watched. I sat in a quiet corner of the grounds, at the foot of the Taj, eyes closed, facing the sun. I absorbed the moment. Here I was at one of the seven wonders, but not there to check it off my list of “Things to See Before I Die”. I was there to admire the atmosphere, to appreciate the architecture, to be in love with this new culture I will have been starting to learn about.
I learned to be comfortable with being uncomfortable and to encourage it. Don’t understand what anyone is saying? Fine, listen and improve your comprehension skills. Don’t know what you’re eating? Ask and/or try it anyway. I learned to be open to embarrassment and uncertainty. Although it was easily frustrating at times, it ended in such rewarding ways.
Studying abroad not only opens your eyes to new food, culture and traditions, but it also allows you to learn about your major from a totally different perspective! If you’re even considering a trip abroad, make an appointment to talk to a member of the staff in the Study Abroad office! They have a TON of helpful information, plus multiple programs and destinations that will work for your interest and field of study. To make an appointment, you can either stop by Foy 301 or e-mail email@example.com. The Study Abroad team is AMAZING and even if you’re not sure whether you want to study abroad or not, make an appointment anyway! It never hurts to get some information and you may just find that this is the right opportunity for you.
Julia (Student Intern)
Happy Valentine’s Day everyone!
This weekend, I was able to attend the 12th annual Mr. Siena show for the first time (even though I’m a senior) and I have to say, this was one of the FUNNIEST and most exciting events that I have been to all year. For those of you that don’t know, Mr. Siena is a bit like a male beauty pageant, but with a huge comedic element. Guys sign up to participate at the beginning of September and they practice each week until the day of the show, working on dance numbers, individual talents, and answering questions. There are also three non-student judges at the event who choose the winner and two hosts, one of whom just happened to be Siena’s very own Father Dennis Tamburello! This year’s show showcased eight contestants and the money raised from ticket sales was put towards Siena’s Habitat for Humanity organization, a tradition that has continued throughout these past years.
I first want to say congratulations to every single one of the contestants. Not only did they work extremely hard over these last months, but you could see the incredible dynamic between the guys as they performed together on stage. They were genuinely happy for one another and kept high fiving each other after one did something cool or funny. The turnout from the Siena community was also amazing to see. Student, faculty, families, so many came out to support the event and every seat was taken inside the MAAC. This is a time during the year where it doesn’t matter what your major is, how old you are, or where you’re from. This event brings people together to support their fellow Saints and I truly think that’s why I enjoyed Mr. Siena so much. I came with my friends, but we also met up with other people that we knew and it was so much fun having the opportunity to just talk and laugh with everyone! As a senior, I am SO glad I decided to attend this event and for those of you who haven’t gone, this isn’t an event you should miss!
In addition, a HUGE congratulations to Kenney Alexandre, who was crowned Mr. Siena 2017!!!!
Did you go to Mr. Siena this past weekend? What did you think?
Julia (Student Intern)
I hope you’re all enjoying this fabulous snow day! So, the spring 2017 career, internship and grad school fair is coming up on MARCH 114th and I know what you might be thinking. “That’s only for upperclassmen” or “I have plenty of time before I have to apply to an internship.” Don’t worry, this is the thought on a lot of students’ minds when they hear about an event like this! However, I can tell you as a student intern (and senior) that it’s never too early to start applying for internships. Getting as much experience as possible not only is a fantastic way to build up your resume, but it’ll strengthen your confidence when you enter the workplace. You absolutely do not have to wait until you’re a senior to start applying for these opportunities, nor should you! You also should try to be open to ANY internship opportunity that comes your way. It’s fantastic to be able to work as an intern in the field that you’re interested in, but it’s also great to work in a field that you may not particularly enjoy. You’re still going to get experience in a professional setting and you’ll learn how to conduct yourself an a professional environment that may not be quite as desirable as you would like.
This career, internship, and grad school fair is also a great opportunity to network yourself! One of the most important things in preparing yourself for the future is to figure out who you know and who you can meet in the field. Don’t ever be afraid to introduce yourself at an event like this, or to start a conversation. Even if they don’t offer you a job right on the spot, talking to people may just get you that information that WILL get you a full time position one day.
The Spring 2017 Career, Internship, and Grad School Fair is on March 14th from 3pm-6pm in the MAAC and registration is now OPEN! To register, head over to CareerSaint and access the 14th Annual Spring Career, Internship & Graduate School Fair 2017 under Attend Events section on the homepage.
All students are highly encouraged to attend and I hope to see you there!
Julia (Student Intern)
For those of you who may not know her, Dr. Chingyen Mayer is a highly respected and valued member of the Siena College English Department and she was recently appointed as the new director of the International Studies minor. She has taught a variety of different courses here at Siena, including Introduction to International Studies, Literature from Asia, Realistic Movements in American Literature and Asian American Literature, which was one of the best classes I have taken throughout my four years here. In my Asian American Literature classes, Dr. Mayer not only opened our eyes to incredible novels we had never even heard of before, but also to the treatment and perception of Asian Americans in the United States. She even brought our entire class on a trip to Chinatown in NYC, where we had the privilege to walk around and visit the Chinese American museum!
In the classes that I took with her, Dr. Mayer also spoke often about her travels around the world and I believe this is one of the many reasons why she will be such a successful director for the International Studies Minor. She has immersed herself in different countries and culture and has strived to pass on the things she has learned to her students. Since joining the Siena community in 2002, she has taken over sixty students to present (or to attend) at Montreal’s Concordia University’s Loyola College for Diversity and Sustainability and she has even organized the Siena-Concordia conference right here on our own campus. Her position as the new director for the Siena College International Studies Minor begins May 2017 and I have no doubt that she will succeed exponentially at the tasks ahead.
Enjoy the snow day and stay warm out there!
Julia (Student Intern)
It’s been awhile since I’ve been able to write for bLAb and it feels great to be back! I had the chance to attend my first event of the semester yesterday and I have to say, it wasn’t something I have ever been to before.
The news in the US hasn’t exactly been positive or uplifting these past couple of weeks, especially with President Trump’s immediate travel ban after the inauguration. Many people are scared, angry, and uncertain about what the future holds, but many have also come together in support and protest of their friends, family and colleagues. Yesterday, I had the chance to attend a solidarity sit-in to support my fellow Saints who are Muslim and I am so glad that I did! Until yesterday, I had never been to a rally and didn’t quite know what it was going to be like. I was very happy to see how big the turnout was and I saw so many people that I knew! Students, faculty, administrators, people from all over campus joined the crowd in front of the SSU to listen to powerful words about peace, freedom of religion, and loving one another. I was especially pleased to hear some of Siena’s own friars speak!
I was so inspired by the sense of community during the event! Siena College is like a community in it of itself and in times like these, a community needs to stick together. Being able to hear the words of support from each person that spoke really made me realize what Siena College and its Franciscan values is really about. It doesn’t matter who someone is or where they’re from or what religion they practice, they are irreplaceable and valuable parts of the Siena Saints community. Attending this rally was very eye opening and I very much hope to see more events on campus like this in the future.
Did you attend the sit-in yesterday? Let me know in the comments!